Horseback riding, petting zoos in the Smoky Mountains: Our top 9 ranked

Horses in Cades Cove

Horses are seen at the Cades Cove Loop during vehicle-free days (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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Have you ever wanted to go horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains?

If you’re visiting Townsend, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, it’s a great time to go on a horseback ride to see some beautiful mountain views from a new perspective.

How much is horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains?

Horseback rides cost about $40 for a one-hour ride in the Smoky Mountains, on average.

Our list below offers a starting price for adult admission so you can compare the top attractions. Keep in mind, various packages may be available, and prices may vary by season.

Each attraction may also have a weight limit, which is usually between 225-300 lbs per rider. Be sure to check the age and weight requirements upon booking.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. Deer Farm Riding Stables and Petting Zoo

Deer Farm Riding Stables offers horseback riding and a petting zoo, all in one, within its 140-acre facility. The riding trails are mostly shaded, and they also have pony rides for the little ones. Reservations may be required depending on demand, so be sure to plan ahead.

  • Adult ticket prices: $28.99 for 60 minutes; petting zoo is $13.99 (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 478 Happy Hollow Ln, Sevierville TN 37876
  • Phone: (865) 428-3337
  • Website: deerfarmzoo.com
  • Insider tip: Ages 5 and up can ride alone. Souvenir treat cups start at $2.50
Adventure Park at Five Oaks offers both riding stables and a zipline course on site (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. Five Oaks Riding Stables

Five Oaks Riding Stables offers a shady, 3.5 mile trail where you will see streams, mountain views and even an authentic moonshine still. Children six and older may ride on their own.

  • Adult ticket prices: $54.99 for one hour (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 1630 Parkway, Sevierville TN 37862
  • Phone: (877) 287-6946
  • Website: adventureparkatfiveoaks.com
  • Insider tip: Five Oaks offers a zipline and horseback combo

Read Also: Ziplining in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg: Our top 10

3. Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa

Big Rock Dude Ranch offers a 3.5 mile ride through the Great Smoky Mountains with beautiful views. This facility aims to accommodate larger riders, but contact them ahead of time if you have concerns. They also have a full petting zoo, where you can feed goats, llamas and chickens for just $3.

  • Adult ticket prices: $49.95 for one hour (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 909 Little Cove Rd, Pigeon Forge TN 37863
  • Phone: (865) 428-9398
  • Website: horseridingbigrock.com
  • Insider tip: Mention their website ad for $5 off

4. Jayell Ranch

Jayell Ranch offers a variety of activities including horseback riding, ziplining, ATV rides and even a monkey and exotic bird experience. The horseback ride takes guests through 260 acres of Smoky Mountain scenery. During the ride, you’ll see views of Mount LeConte and Shield’s Mountain Fort.

  • Adult ticket prices: $39 for one hour; aviary experience is $9.99 (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 1131 Jayell Rd, Sevierville TN 37862
  • Phone: (865) 776-1593
  • Website: jayellranch.com
  • Insider tip: Jayell Ranch is a walk-in only facility

5. Sugarlands Riding Stables

Sugarlands Riding Stables has a simple business plan: Blue skies, leather saddles and fresh air. On this ride, you will go inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with an experienced guide.

  • Adult ticket prices: $40 for one hour (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 1409 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
  • Phone: (865) 436-3535
  • Website: sugarlandsridingstables.com
  • Insider tip: This attraction is closed on Sundays

6. Next to Heaven Ranch

Next to Heaven offers unguided horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains. This trail offers some breathtaking views. This facility also has ziplines starting at $49.

  • Adult ticket prices: $40 (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 1239 Wears Valley Rd, Townsend, TN 37882
  • Phone: (865) 268-6314
  • Website: facebook.com/next2heavensmokies
  • Insider tip: This attraction is closed on Sundays

7. Cades Cove Riding Stables

Cades Cove is a very popular destination in the Smoky Mountains. From expert riders to first timers, Cades Cove offers something for everyone with guided trail rides, guided carriage rides, hayrides and plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities.

  • Adult ticket prices: $40 (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 10018 Campground Dr, Townsend TN 37882
  • Phone: (865) 448-9009
  • Website: cadescovestables.com
  • Insider tip: Double riding is not permitted here

Read Also: How to visit Cades Cove, 7 things to know before you go

Boy petting sheep and goat
Petting zoos are a great way to entertain the little ones (stock photo)

Petting zoos in the Smoky Mountains

If you want to spend some time with animals on your Smokies vacation, you may be interested in some of the other interactive facilities and petting zoos.

Maybe a horseback ride isn’t your thing. You can still get in some animal time with these zoos.

How much do petting zoos cost in the Smoky Mountains?

Most petting zoos in the Smoky Mountains region will run between $15-20 for adult tickets and roughly $10 for a child’s ticket.

Here are a few additional attractions for animal viewing. Current adult ticket prices are listed so you can easily compare the zoos and plan your trip.

Prices are subject to change.

8. RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo

RainForest Adventures Zoo is home to hundreds of tropical and temperate animals. They have snakes, turtles, lizards, foxes, parrots, frogs and more! The zoo is open year-round.

  • Adult ticket prices: $14.99 (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 109 Nascar Dr, Sevierville TN 37862
  • Phone: (865) 428-4091
  • Website: rfadventures.com
  • Insider tip: Kids under two are free!

9. Parrot Mountain and Gardens

Parrot Mountain and Gardens is a peaceful, Bible-inspired garden and parrot preserve that offers guests a rare chance to interact with exotic birds and view gorgeous gardens. Kids of all ages will love this interactive facility.

  • Adult ticket prices: $21.95 (may vary by season, subject to change)
  • Address: 1471 McCarter Hollow Rd, Pigeon Forge TN 37862
  • Phone: (865) 774-1749
  • Website: parrotmountainandgardens.com
  • Insider tip: This attraction is open from early March through late November

Have you ever been horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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1 thought on “Horseback riding, petting zoos in the Smoky Mountains: Our top 9 ranked”

  1. Don’t for get about Davey Crocketts stables in Townsend. Great place to ride trails are good and the staff is wonderful. Jaynell takes way to long to load up and ride and the trails are not that great. Deer Farm is awesome. Big Rock was fun just needed a more than than an hour ride. The best 2 hour ride in Smokemont Riding Stables in Cherokee. We have rode all the placed on your list! Almost heaven is closed now and I would not ride there again anyway.

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